FBD Insurance Rás race leader Chris Newton defended his yellow jersey in the best possible fashion today, sprinting in for his second successive win at the end of the 156 kilometre stage to Lisdoonvarna.
|Chris Newton winning into Lisdoonvarna|
For the second time in 24 hours, the GB – Recycling.co.uk rider proved quicker than former top professional Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire Trinity Capital) in the final gallop, but on this occasion he also had to beat nine other riders to the line. Third on the stage was Malte Urban (Germany – Stevens von Hacht), with Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) fourth and Irish duo Tim Barry (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) and Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton) fifth and sixth.
|View of Yellow Jersey through a motor bike marshals mirror|
All were part of an eleven man breakaway group which went clear after the day’s second climb, Corkscrew Hill. A large crash split the main bunch just before that ascent, and then the pressure applied by Newton’s team saw further splintering before the top.
Today’s result sees Newton preserve his eight second lead over Elliott. Hegreberg remains third, 2 minutes and 16 seconds back, while Barry climbs two places overall to fourth. Rob Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk) remains on the same time but drops to fifth, while Kevin Dawson (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) missed out on the eleven man breakaway and falls to sixth.
Like Dawson, Irish rider Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways) also finished behind the front group, but in taking second on the day’s first climb, he preserved his lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
How it happened:
188 riders lined out for the start of day three of the 2005 FBD Insurance Rás, a 156 kilometre leg from Tubbercurry to Lisdoonvarna. Unlike the previous two days the weather was relatively benign, staying dry and bright all morning. The start was delayed by ten minutes in order to ensure that the riders wouldn’t be blocked by a railway level crossing later in the stage. There was also as there was a minute’s silence for the victims of the bus crash near Navan yesterday. The two Meath teams in the race, Meath – Cycleways.com and Meath - M. Donnelly, turned out wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.
The first attack of significance was by Menno de Boer of the Netherlands – Kennemerland team. The Dutchman attacked after 20 minutes of action and built a short-lived, thirteen second lead. Following his recapture, the field thundered onto the category 3 climb of Lurga, where the 2000 Rás champion Julian Winn (Wales – Stena Line) outsprinted KOH leader Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com) and Ireland – Grant Thornton’s Stephen Gallagher for the top points.
Once past the top of the climb, a succession of attacks took place as the riders sought to break the elastic and go clear. Mick Mulcahy (Dublin Usher Insulations), Eddie O’Donoghue (Dublin – Team Murphy and Gunn) and Rory Wyley (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) were first to try, opening up a twelve second lead before being reeled in. Subsequent attacks were also short-lived.
However, approximately 40 kilometres into the stage, Mark Lovatt (Yorkshire Trinity Capital) and Paul Healion (Dublin Usher Insulations) broke away and eked out a maximum lead of 40 seconds. Their prospects were hampered by the fact that the first half of today’s race was taking place on a wide, exposed dual carriageway, which gave the bunch behind a clear view and helped them keep the duo well within striking distance.
Healion and Lovatt needed additional horsepower if they were to fend off the peloton. Five chasers did what they could to get across, Andrei Mustonen (Estonia – Kalev Chocolate) combining with Greg Roche (Britain – Fujibikes), Peter Vermeulen (Netherlands – Kennemerland), Kacey Chamberlin (US – Ventilux First Mortgage) and former race winner Tommy Evans (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital). But these riders and a number of subsequent chase groups were all hauled back and, despite their efforts to stay clear, Healion and Lovatt were eventually recaptured after a brave 60 kilometres out front.
The roads became smaller just after Oranmore and, with the terrain more conducive to a breakaway’s chances, six riders went away. Stian Remme (Norway – Sparebanken Vest), Gary Hand (Scotland), Paul Sheppard (Wales – Stena Line), Mick Hennessy (Cork Nucleus), Rory Wyley (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) and John Mason (Tipperary Worldwide Cycles) built a half-minute lead and stayed out in front until fifteen kilometres to go. However, with the crucial climb of Corkscrew Hill approaching, race leader Chris Newton’s GB - Recycling.co.uk team joined with the Norway – Sparebanken Vest squad to nullify this move.
A big crash just before the climb split the bunch, and when the Recycling boys put the hammer down on the foothills of the second-category climb, the splintering front group went from forty riders at the bottom to just ten at the top. This selection comprised Newton and Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital), the first and second riders overall, Gabriel Rasch, Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest), Rob Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk), John Tanner, Malte Urban (Germany – Stevens von Hacht), Yanto Barker (Wales – Stena Line) plus the Irish duo of Tim Barry (Tipperary Dan Morrissey) and Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton). These were joined after the top by Evan Oliphant (Scotland), while Winn and Moriarty, first and second over the day’s other climb, just missed out. They crossed the summit just behind the leaders but as was the case with all the other riders behind, were unable to get back on terms before the finish.
With 2 kilometres to go before the finish in Lisdoonvarna, the break had 31 seconds. It was clear that one of them would win the stage. Elliott had gone close yesterday and was determined to make amends this time round, but once again Newton frustrated him by being first to the line. Elliott took second, repeating yesterday’s result, while Urban, Hegreberg, Barry and Gallagher filled the top six places. Andrew Roche won the sprint from the chasing group for twelfth on the stage, 41 seconds down.
The net result was that Newton and Elliott remained on top, separated by the same eight seconds which divided them 24 hours earlier. Hegreberg is next, closely followed by an impressive Barry, Sharman and Barker. Conor Murphy is next best of the Irish in ninth.
As regards the other classifications, Newton continues to lead the points competition. Moriarty is six points clear of Hegreberg in the KOH ranking, while Stuart Gillespie (US TIAA CREF) holds onto the white jersey as best young rider.
In addition to being the best Irish competitor, Barry is leading the county rider listing. Ciarán Farrell is best of the second cats, while Yorkshire – Trinity Capital and Meath – Cycleways.com are in pole position in the international team and county team awards respectively.
Post race quotes:
Chris Newton, stage winner and yellow jersey:
‘My legs were heavy at the start, as you might expect. It was a fast day and everyone was up for racing so it was good. I knew we had to try to contain it all, perhaps sacrificing a couple of guys before the climb. Fortunately we have a couple of guys who are a bit lower in the general classification so they did a tremendous job. My other team-mates then lit it up by going very hard on the last climb, causing a split.’
‘It was just a matter of working from there. I didn’t intend going for the stage, really, but it was kind one of those slightly uphill finishes were everyone fanned across the road. So you may as well go for it then. If it was a fast one, I think I would have sat there and just rolled in with the group.’
‘But it is nice to take another stage. You have to do it when you can in this race, as it can be quite up and down. You can have good days and bad days, so it was nice to get the win today.’
‘I didn’t know much about the climb beforehand. I knew it would be quite hard, but I’ve never raced up it before. The name Corkscrew Hill suggested it would be really steep but it was quite a fast climb. With the switchbacks on the climb, it was enjoyable.’
‘I wasn’t watching anyone in particular today - I think you have got to watch everyone, really. I know I have got two and a half minutes on third place, but it is still all up for racing. Two and a half minutes is not much if a group goes up the road and you have to defend it. So you have to watch everyone, really.’
Malcolm Elliott, second on stage and second overall:
‘I felt okay out there but just tired a bit toward the end. That blunts the speed a little bit. The climb got rid of most of the sprinters, but unfortunately there was another one left! I am pretty happy with the way the race is going, it is certainly a whole lot more than I expected coming here.’
Tim Barry, fifth on the stage and best Irishman overall in fourth:
‘I was happy enough to hang in with them going up the Corkscrew. There were only ten of us left at the top. There was a bit of madness from about 20 kilometres before the climb because you had to constantly move up, move around people in order to stay in position. The Corkscrew is relatively short compared to what is to come later this week, but I am happy with things so far.’
‘I had good form going into the Tour of Turkey, because I trained specifically for this period of the year. I only found out I was riding that race two weeks beforehand as the Murphy and Gunn team were stuck for a rider. Otherwise I probably would have been racing here. The Tour of Turkey was my first time getting top ten overall in a 2.2 ranked race – I was seventh – so it gave me good form for this.’
‘I was pretty confident heading into the Rás that I had good condition, but you need a lot of good luck too in this race. The Tour of Turkey was different – it was controlled on the flat stages, whereas the Rás is different. On the first stage, the break went on a flat road. Yesterday, it was the same. In other international races, the breaks go on climbs, but in the Rás they go outside garages and schools!’
Eugene Moriarty, King of the Mountains leader:
‘It was good to get some points on the first climb, that helps things. The German was up there on the Corkscrew Hill, though, so he would have got some back. It was a bit unfortunate on the climb – I was marking Julian Winn on that and we crossed the top just after the leaders. I think someone let a wheel go, that is how the gap opened. We were pretty close to them over the summit but we couldn’t get across.’
The 2005 FBD Insurance Rás continues tomorrow with a 162 kilometre stage from Lisdoonvarna to Templemore. There are four third-category climbs along the way, at Formoyle (70.8 kilometres), Ballybrack (78.5), Lackamore (102.1) and Curreeney Cross (129.5).
FBD Insurance Rás stage 3, Tubbercurry – Lisdoonvarna:
1, Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk) 156 kilometres in 3 hours 29 mins 55 secs (44.59 kph)
2, Malcolm Elliott (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital)
3, Malte Urban (Germany – Stevens von Hacht)
4, Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest)
5, Tim Barry (Tipperary Dan Morrissey)
6, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton)
7, Evan Oliphant (Scotland)
8, Gabriel Rasch (Norway – Sparebanken Vest)
9, John Tanner (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital)
10, Yanto Barker (Wales Stena Line)
11, Robin Sharman (GB – Recycling.co.uk) all same time
12, Andrew Roche (Tipperary Worldwide Cycles) at 41 secs
13, Andrew Randell (Canada – Jet Fuel Coffee)
14, Simon Kelly (Cork Nucleus)
15, Daniel Lynch (Kanturk) all same time
County rider (Cuchulainn Crystal): Tim Barry
KOM Cat 3, Lurga:
1, Julian Winn (Wales – Stena Line) 5 pts
2, Eugene Moriarty (Meath – Cycleways.com) 4 pts
3, Stephen Gallagher (Ireland – Grant Thornton) 3 pts
4, Morten Hegreberg (Norway – Sparebanken Vest) 2 pts
KOM cat 2, Corkscrew Hill:
1, Morten Hegreberg, 10 pts
2, Urban, 8
3, Sharman, 6
4, Newton, 4
5, Elliott, 3
6, Barry, 1
General Classification (George Plant trophy):
1, Chris Newton, 10 hours 34 mins 24 secs
2, Elliott, at 8 secs
3, Hegrebert, at 2 mins 16 secs
4, Barry, at 2 mins 32 secs
5, Sharman, same time
6, Barker, at 2 mins 37 secs
7, Rasch, same time
8, Kevin Dawson (Yorkshire – Trinity Capital) at 3 mins 4 secs
9, Conor Murphy (Ireland – Grant Thornton) at 5 min 1 sec
10, Stuart Gillespie (US – TIAA CREF) at 5 mins 11 secs
11, Tanner, at 5 mins 29 secs
12, Oliphant, at 6 min 1 sec
13, Sean Lacey (Meath M. Donnelly) at 6 mins 15 secs
14, John Dempsey (Ireland Grant Thornton) same time
15, Sigvard Kukk (Estonia – Kalev Chocolate) at 6 mins 22 secs
1, Chris Newton, 42 points
2, Elliott, 38
3, Hegreberg, 29
4, Barry, 23
5, Sharman, 21
Mountains classification (Brendan Carroll trophy):
1, Eugene Moriarty, 23
2, Hegreberg, 17
3, Urban, 16
4, Gallagher, 10
5, Krotky, 9
Under 23 classification (Ben McKenna Trophy):
1, Stuart Gillespie (US – TIAA CREF) 10 hours 39 mins 35 secs
2, Alex Coutts (Scotland) at 3 mins
3, Ben Greenwood (GB – Recycling.co.uk) at 4 mins 29 secs
4, Ian MacGregor (US – TIAA CREF) same time
5, Paídi O’Brien (Ireland – Grant Thornton) at 4 mins 56 secs
County rider overall (Cycleways):
1, Tim Barry, 10 hours 36 mins 56 secs
2, Sean Lacey (Meath – M. Donnelly) at 3 mins 43 secs
3, Philip Cassidy (Meath – Cycleways.com) at 4 mins 8 secs
4, Andrew Roche (Tipperary – Worldwide Cycles) at 4 mins 11 secs
5, Eugene Moriarty, at 4 mins 12 secs
Second category rider:
1, Ciarán Farrell (Dublin Wheelers – All Systems) 10 hours 47 mins 9 secs
2, Mark McLeavey (Dublin Dundrum Shopping Centre)
3, Anthony O’Brien (Cork Nucleus) both same time
4, Barry Meehan (Tipperary Worldwide Cycles) at 6 secs
5, Stephen Enright (Dublin Usher Insulations) at 27 secs
International team overall:
1, Yorkshire – Trinity Capital, 31 hours 51 mins 55 secs
2, Norway – Sparebanken Vest, at 3 mins 4 secs
3, GB – Recycling.co.uk, at 3 mins 30 secs
4, Ireland – Grant Thornton, at 11 mins 32 secs
5, Wales – Stena Line, at 13 mins 58 secs
County team overall:
1, Meath Cycleways.com, 32 hours 6 mins 44 secs
2, Tipperary Dan Morrissey, at 1 min 24 secs
3, Meath M. Donnelly, at 4 mins 7 secs
4, Tipperary Worldwide Cycles, at 6 mins 44 secs
5, Cork Nucleus, at 7 mins 30 secs